Scripture Reading: John 16:7-16
Memory Verse: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
Introduction: Where did the Early Church get its power? The actions of the first local church were vital and effective. One cannot help but note the vast difference between the revolutionary power of this first church and the apparent weakness of most of our contemporary assemblies. This contrast points up a great need in God’s Church today. We need to answer the above question: “Where did the Primitive Church get its power?”
The same formula for success that was employed by the Early Church will be amazingly adaptable to our modern situation. We can be successful and progressive whenever we learn from the Early Church that the direction of the Holy Spirit is the key to productive and harmonious congregational effort.
As the disciples listened for the voice of the Spirit, they heard it. As they went forth, they depended on a measure of God’s Spirit to convict and convert their hearers. They exhibited a faith that God would do things, and He did. How different would our assemblies act if they were possessed with this selfsame spirit of expectancy – this anticipation that an act of God awaited their obedience to the next command?
No wonder the Early Church could not fail – possessed as it was by an inherent promise of redemption and a daily reminder of the presence of God. Under these conditions, Christian lives became powerful and dynamic. We may as well concede that there will be no great movement of impetus in the existing “church world” of today unless the motivation of the Holy Spirit accomplishes it. Neither can a local congregation make any tremendous strides forward spiritually except its members are empowered by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps too much is said today about methods and too little about motivation. If motivation is the Spirit of God, the resulting methods will be appropriate and effective.
- Define “Holy Spirit,” “Comforter,” “Spirit of truth,” “Spirit of God,” and “Spirit of Christ.” John 14:16-17, 26; 16:13; Romans 8:9, 11, 14. Are they synonymous?
- How was the Early Church to be equipped for its tasks? Acts 1:8.
- Did the Apostles and other early Christians do their great works by their own abilities? Acts 3:12; 4:33; 6:8. Discuss.
- How did Jesus set the example for us of depending upon the Holy Spirit and Divine presence of God for victory? Luke 4:14; Acts 10:38. In view of this, should we not much more depend upon the Spirit of God?
- Besides the impetus and power for accomplishment, what else will the Holy Spirit provide for us? John 14:26; 16:13; Romans 15:13; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30.
- What privileges are bestowed upon Christians by the Spirit of God? Philippians 3:10-11; John 1:12; Colossians 1:13-14.
- Is this “power” Christ’s to bestow through the Spirit? Matthew 28:18. Discuss the promise of this bestowal as related in Matthew 28:20.
- In view of this vital “power,” discuss the bestowal of “power” even in the Millennium, as related in Revelations 2:26-27.
- Discuss the significance and seriousness of the “grieving” of the Holy Spirit and the “sealing” of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:30. Who are privileged to receive the “Spirit of truth,” and who are excluded? John 14:17.
- As final admonition, are we, by faith, enjoined to accept and utilize this promised power? Ephesians 6:10. Discuss.